Ian McKellen Playing Sherlock Holmes in 'A Slight Trick of the Mind'

Ian McKellen

He's already played Gandalf and Magneto, so why the hell shouldn't Sir Ian McKellen play Sherlock Holmes? No reason at all, and that's why McKellen's signed on to portray the beloved detective in A Slight Trick of the Mind, adapted from the Mitch Cullin novel about a long-dormant case that flares up, plaguing the retired Holmes.

The project, which will reunite McKellen with his Gods and Monsters director Bill Condon, is being adapted by screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher and co-financed by BBC Films. No release date has been announced, but shooting is scheduled to begin in April 2014.

The storyline synopsis for the book, which was published in 2005, reads as follows:

It is 1947, and the long-retired Sherlock Holmes, now 93, lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse with his housekeeper and her young son. He tends to his bees, writes in his journal, and grapples with the diminishing powers of his mind. But in the twilight of his life, as people continue to look to him for answers, Holmes revisits a case that may provide him with answers of his own to questions he didn’t even know he was asking–about life, about love, and about the limits of the mind’s ability to know. A novel of exceptional grace and literary sensitivity, A Slight Trick of the Mind is a brilliant imagining of our greatest fictional detective and a stunning inquiry into the mysteries of human connection.

We don't like thinking about Ian McKellen in the twilight of his life any more than you do, but this sounds like one intriguing story, and readers agreed; at Amazon, the book boasts a 4.5/5 overall rating, and holds a slightly less robust 3.47/5 at Goodreads (which is less prone to review-fluffing publishers' minions). This is some smart casting on Condon's part; here's hoping the script lives up to its promise.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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